bar exams

UST’s Ephraim Bie receives close to P2 million after topping 2023 Bar

Jairo Bolledo

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UST’s Ephraim Bie receives close to P2 million after topping 2023 Bar

THOMASIANS. 2023 Bar top 1 Ephraim Bie and top 8 Pio Vincent Buencamino pose for a photo with UST Law dean Nilo Divina during their testimonial dinner on December 5, 2023.

Jairo Bolledo/ Rappler

The 2023 Bar topnotcher receives a total of P1.95 million from DivinaLaw Foundation, from a fellow Thomasian lawyer, and the UST law alumni foundation

Blessings continue to pour in for University of Santo Tomas’ (UST) Ephraim Bie, the topnotcher of the 2023 Bar examinations.

UST’s Ephraim Bie receives close to P2 million after topping 2023 Bar

After acing what is considered to be the toughest licensure exam in the Philippines, Bie received his monetary reward. During the UST faculty of civil law’s testimonial dinner on December 14, Bie was awarded a P1,250,000 check by UST law dean Nilo Divina.

In a text message to Rappler, Bie confirmed that he received the said reward from the DivinaLaw Foundation. On top of this, the 2023 Bar topnotcher received P500,000 from Thomasian lawyer Rey Oben, and another P200,000 from the UST Law Alumni Foundation, Inc., according to The Varsitarian, UST’s official publication.

The 2023 Bar topnotcher received a total of P1,950,000.

But Bie was not alone in this glory. His fellow Thomasian topnotcher, Pio Vincent Buencamino, who placed 8th, was also given P530,000 by the DivinaLaw Foundation, P100,000 from Oben, and P100,000 from the alumni foundation – a total of P730,000.

UST’s Ephraim Bie receives close to P2 million after topping 2023 Bar

The Varsitarian also reported that UST Law announced it will reward new lawyers from UST with an all-expenses-paid trip to Japan. Rappler has reached out to Divina for further details, but the UST law dean has yet to respond as of writing.

Bie aced the 2023 Bar examinations chaired by Associate Justice Ramon Paul Hernando; he obtained a grade of 89.2625%. He led the pack of 19 other topnotchers and the rest of the 3,812 examinees announced by the Supreme Court on December 5.

He made history as the fifth topnotcher from UST in Manila, and for bringing back his university to the Bar’s top 1 after 21 years. Other Thomasian topnotchers include former chief justice Roberto Concepcion (1924), former president Diosdado Macapagal (1936), former senator Jose Diokno (1944), and Arlene Maneja (2002). Mae Diane Azores from UST Legazpi, UST Manila’s sister school, also topped the 2019 Bar.

On the night of December 5, the whole UST Law community celebrated Bie’s achievement – they held a welcome party for their new flag-bearer. The victory party included an intimate dinner for the entire UST Law community, a parade, and then a grand fireworks display dedicated to the UST Law’s achievement.

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In several conversations with Rappler, Bie stressed that hard work became his most essential tool in achieving his dreams. He said he was taught by his parents to work hard for the things they want to achieve – and this helped him going to law school, and then eventually acing what could perhaps be the hardest exams of his life. – Rappler.com

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.